Paramount Announces ‘Demastered Edition’ of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Voyager

Paramount Announces ‘Demastered Edition’ of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Voyager

Paramount announced today that it intends to release new versions of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager on physical media this year. While fans have pushed for a new version of the show for years, Paramount’s new effort may not be quite what they had in mind. We aren’t getting the restored master source and new CGI that fans have begged for. We aren’t even getting an AI upscaled version of the show that I discussed earlier this week, even though even an AI upscale with professional color grading would still beat the crap out of the original DVD release.

In lieu of these options, Paramount has announced a new, “Demastered Edition” of Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager. Instead of using Blu-ray or even DVD, these new editions of the seminal science fiction shows will only be available on VHS. wfoojjaec has obtained exclusive footage of these “episodes” and embedded it below.

Blame the TNG Blu-ray

It’s a well-known fact that the Powers That Be were unhappy with sales of the TNG Blu-ray remaster when it was released 10 or so years ago. Paramount’s decision to pivot towards, shall we say, alternate forms of physical media with this release is driven by the belief that TNG-era Star Trek fans occupy a unique nexus. Specifically, they like old TV, they’re nostalgic for the past, and they’re rich enough to spend money on collectables of dubious value.

Paramount Announces ‘Demastered Edition’ of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Voyager

In and of itself, this isn’t an insane hypothesis. Sales of vinyl records have been rising for the past few years. VHS sales on eBay are growing, while sales of DVD and Blu-ray products are reportedly falling year-on-year. Paramount has seen this trend and wants to take advantage of it. Furthermore, the company has its own theory on why the TNG Blu-ray release didn’t sell well. The problem, according to Paramount executive and self-proclaimed devoted Star Trek fan Moore Moonves, is that Star Trek: The Next Generation looked too good compared to what fans were used to.

“Our focus groups concluded that what fans want is something that matches the quality of what they grew up on,” Moonves told us. “If you watched Deep Space Nine or Voyager during their initial runs, you almost certainly watched it on an old-fashioned CRT or VHS tape. People don’t want to see TNG-era Star Trek in UHD. It scares them. It’s jarring and unfamiliar. Admit it, Data’s eyes look f—— weird in some of those remastered episodes.”

Paramount Announces ‘Demastered Edition’ of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Voyager

When I pointed out that the entire point of a remaster was to watch the show in higher quality and that fans might feel shortchanged, Moonves bristled.

“I resent the implication that we care less about Deep Space Nine and Voyager than we do about The Next Generation,” he shot back. “When we remastered TNG, we spared no expense. We rescanned the film and carefully color-graded each season, episode-by-episode. We hired a team of professionals and brought in original members of the special effects team to oversee the work.”

“When we decided to de-master Deep Space Nine and Voyager we knew we owed these shows no less dedication Our crack team of Fiverr employees canvassed garage sales for weeks, all across the United States, until we found a pristine set of both series on VHS still in shrinkwrap. When the owner told me he’d put them on a shelf in his garage 20 years ago and forgotten about them, I knew we had found the kind of collector I could bond with.”

The Full VCR Experience

According to members of the restoration team we met with, the new de-mastered editions aren’t just some old VCR tapes a hapless contractor found sitting on a shelf last year. Paramount has gone to great pains to make certain each boxed set will replicate an authentic VHS experience. The company has used AI to process the found footage, creating a unique blend of errors, artifacts, and problems for each and every copy. No two copies of any single episode in the upcoming Deep Space Nine and Voyager de-release will look the same between boxed sets. Every episode has been calibrated with its own color palette to ensure that the full glory of NTSC color is brought to your display.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, Dear Reader. In order to truly replicate the “Full VCR Experience”, various key scenes in every boxed set have been overwritten by random football games, other TV shows, and late-night infomercials, invariably injected at the worst possible time. According to RJ Fletcher, the Paramount executive tapped to oversee this painstaking restoration, this sometimes creates a “unique fusion” of classic TNG-era Star Trek and late-90s pop culture.

Paramount Announces ‘Demastered Edition’ of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Voyager

We managed to smuggle footage of this new, ‘De-Mastered Edition’ of the show out of the studio at no small risk to ourselves. Some of you may find what you are about to see… disturbing. We recommend watching to the end of both.

Rest assured, the Doctor is not the only person glancing around in shock and alarm. And as for Deep Space Nine?

I remember begging my parents to buy a new VCR tape so I could record “Way of the Warrior” in Standard Play (SP). After my parents had gone to bed that night, I got back up and watched the battle sequence again four or five times. I think I might have ignited if my copy of the episode had gotten ruined this way. But — not wanting to jump to any conclusions — we decided to consult the cast of the TV shows.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea to re-release Voyager,” said Robert Picardo, who played the iconic holographic Doctor on the TV series, “But I’m not sure this is the way anyone wants to see it — or me, for that matter. I look like a mangey Vidiian.”

“Also,” he added, “Who are you people, and what are you doing in my house?”

Pricing and Availability

Paramount expects the demaster to be available by Star Trek Day on September 8, 2022. If this release proves popular, the company may consider other niche markets and products. Plans are reportedly in the works to re-issue Star Trek: The Animated Series on a tranche of recently-discovered LaserDiscs manufactured at the Sony DADC factory in Terre Haute. If that proves popular, Paramount may consider releasing TOS on Betamax.

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